Thursday, November 29, 2007

Increased use of Pepper Spray in Youth Commission

Why is it we use violence to teach people to not be violent? To teach my daughter to be gentle and loving that is what I model to her. The Texas Youth Commission apparently disagrees. Teenagers who are incarcerated are now being pepper-sprayed more than ever before. This year there has been 1200 reports of teens being sprayed compared with last years 196. Two youth advocacy groups sued the agency and they are currently trying to come to an agreement on, how much is to much? Barry Krisberg is quoted saying," You're only going to get angrier, more alienated youths when you do this." I could not agree more! We need to teach these teens how to respond to a stressful situation calmly and peacefully. You can create boundaries and respect when that is what you give to them. Reacting to them in anger only reinforces that is how you are supposed to react. It is said they use the pepper spray on teenagers on suicide watch. They are clearly not in a good space why torture them more? It is like kicking them when they are down.

Physical restraints were bringing more injuries to the youth and staff members, the use of the pepper spray has reduced these injuries. We are trading one form of violence for another. These kids have to be handled respectively to learn how to be respectful. Setting boundaries and rules can be done peacefully.

We need to take a look at our egos in this situation. How much ego is involved when the decision is made to pepper spray? Guiding these teens toward a life of balance and healthy living should be our focus.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Kids Health Bill

One of my classmates chose to comment on an article concerning children's health care. I think it is a very important topic and I have some opinions of my own to share. This article,, states that the lawmakers are attempting to override Bush's veto for a children's healthy insurance program, Chip, to expand it's resources. President Bush refuses to agree to "any version of the health insurance bill if it is funded by tobacco tax increase, which is virtually certain under any revised plan". I wonder why he would say such a thing? My classmate wrote a very good article but I have to say I disagree with his response.

This article makes me very emotional, being a single mom I struggle to insure my child. Health insurance is very expensive, without programs like CHIP many families would go without. Being the President of the United States Bush does not understand what it feels like to struggle and budget to fit in necessities like health insurance. Where has all the compassion gone? Our country desperately needs better health care options for our children. We need to just figure it out and budget for our children's future.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Texas Youth Commision Needs Help

The New York Times wrote an article on how Texas needs to "Raze" Youth Commission and "Start Over". There have been some reforms made by Gov. Rick Perry but no real change in the works.

Blue Ribbon Task Force is ready with a sensible plan but there is not enough support.

In the article it says that some of the problems come from poorly run schools. I do agree schools are poorly run but the problems start at home. How are these kids treated at home? Do they get the attention, love and support they need? Children learn how to treat others by how you treat them. We do need to rebuild our juvenile justice system but we also need to promote better state wide parenting skills. If we can help kids from the beginning we can eliminate most of the problems. We have to raise good kids to get good kids.

Behavior problems can be linked to one of their needs not getting met. When children have a need not getting met or if they feel as if no one cares they can end up acting out. There thoughts could be no one cares, why should I? Children's brains are also not fully developed to understand the ramifications of there actions. We have to be there to help them understand and make good choices.

If children do get to the point that they need to be in centers away from family, we do as a society have a responsibility to give them the best we can. from what I have read on this issue we are not. To me it feels like the focus is to just get them in and out, no real rehabilitation. We have to bring people in to really help them so when they are out they have the tools they need to succeed.